MB Foundation Celebrates Incorporation and 140 Year HistoryBrenda Hamm
MB Foundation is celebrating its 30 year anniversary of incorporation and 140 years of stewardship. Both beginnings are highlighted in the recently published book Taking Hold of Real Life: The Story of MB Foundation. The book chronicles the early roots of stewardship in the Mennonite Brethren dating back to 1880 when immigrants to the United States began gathering funds from churches for the purpose of spreading the Gospel.
By 1898 the Mennonite Brethren Conference set a goal of increasing the mission fund to a $50,000 endowment to meet its needs in the United States and in foreign missions. In 1904 the Conference received its first planned gift of 80 acres of farmland from Nebraska farmer, Franz Wiens. At the time of his death in 1910 he had given a total of 180 acres. The land gifts have supported Conference work and ministry ever since through an endowment. Today MB Foundation still owns most of the land and the endowment that pays out to support ministry.
As the Conference became more intentional in its promotion of stewardship there was substantial growth in assets managed by the Board of Trustees, reaching $2.6 million in 1969. Continued growth in the next two decades initiated the process of incorporation and on December 28, 1990, MB Foundation was legally established. In the next 30 years the ministry steadily grew and developed under the leadership of two presidents, Lynford Becker who served through January 1998, and current president and CEO, Jon C. Wiebe.
Today MB Foundation manages more than $251 million in assets, an unimaginable amount for those setting the goal of $50,000 in 1898. MB Foundation employs 20 staff members at its headquarters in Hillsboro, Kansas and second office in Fresno, California.
Taking Hold of Real Life: The Story of MB Foundation has been a concerted effort in recent years to document the story of MB Foundation. It is an historical record but also the story of how God has multiplied the generosity of the Mennonite Brethren people. The book tells of some of the individuals who have contributed to building the Kingdom through stewardship and generosity.
“As we have seen the story come together I am amazed at what God has done and look forward to what he will continue to do through the stewardship ministry of MB Foundation.” said MB Foundation President and CEO Jon C. Wiebe. “There is more story to be written. It is our hope many others will join us.”
MB Foundation had planned an unveiling of the book and full celebration at the U.S. Mennonite Brethren Convention in July, but due to the pandemic the in-person gathering was cancelled in favor of an online conference. Copies of the book have been distributed to customers and ministries who have partnered with MB Foundation. Additional copies are available at www.mbfoundation.com/historybook.
Other celebration moments are being planned including a special interest rate offering to the constituency and a time of celebration with staff and board members.